Free yoga for stress relief

There are plenty of days here when you feel completely flabbergasted, and every step seems predestined to land in moldy feces. The stink spreads over your life. Every pass and person seems somehow stinky: The freckled dude will steal cigarettes from Kwik Trips. The lanky Avril Lavigne eye-liner girl is going to slash your bikeâÄôs tires. The food at UDS is sallow, translucent and unappetizing. You chair is too hard. The sun is too bright. You are impatient, blubbering and fussy. These down days usually wind down to being a stupid game of self-parenting. Stressed and apathetic, I realized that I had heard something about yoga at the University. Yoga (which is offered for free if you paid your Student Services Fee) might be that one thing to get me through; though, it wasnâÄôt until after my first class that I saw that yoga is not an instant cure to the bad day at first, only a tiring release. Last Wednesday, I arrived at Cooke Hall 15 minutes before the class was to begin, and found the room through a side door with some help from Lucy (she was one of six to show up for class.) The floor of laminated, wooden planks led to brick walls, which rose up and up to a vaulted ceiling. The lights were shut off, so only gray from cloudy afternoon sky entered and illuminated our working grounds. Due to an open window, it was cold, such that it felt very illogical stripping down to shorts and a T-shirt in that large barn-like room. The mind told me to put on more clothes, but I knew that it was too stressed out to be my precious anymore. I lay back and closed my eyes. Before I could seriously consider falling asleep, the instructor came, stripped herself of fluorescent jacket and wind pants, and began to teach. To combat the cold, we sped up the routine slightly. We meditated upon Styrofoam purple bricks, and then unfolded into stretches. My muscles were tight and strained, and my breaths were forced to a turbid pace. I heard my breaths, I could hear them, but little thoughts about Bob Dylan or chemistry kept creeping into my skull. Nothing was quite working quite like it should âÄî that is, naturally and without mind. We positioned ourselves into the downward-looking dog, and my calves only burned a little, so I tiptoed my feet up the mat. We straightened our backs, then curved them, naturally sliding our torsos into our mats soon after. Our abs unrolled into a sheet and stretched themselves. My head free, I gazed up at the ceiling: a little bird, maybe imaginary, fluttered around the ceiling. The mind was still at work. I was at first a little ashamed of my inability in yoga, but then I realized that the two girls on either side of me were beginners too. Their legs shook when they rose above their horizontal backs. Nobody is perfect, nobody is a professional. You donâÄôt have to be a professional at anything to do something. And it mightâÄôve been around that time when we slipped into a groove. Forty-five minutes later, I arose from my sitting position and immediately felt the soreness on the back of my knees. The tension was still there âÄî I hadnâÄôt expected that âÄî but I felt exhausted. Or calm. Or both. My arms were tingling, and when I spoke to the teacher afterwards, my words were soft and slurred. My mind still raced over the busy day, and my heart was a cannon in my chest. Apparently, I wasnâÄôt too good at yoga. No enlightenment, yet. But I was comfy and willing to deal with crap. Thus, I knew that, when in the course of dealing with all the worrisome aspects of life, yoga (free yoga at Cooke Hall) was one of the best things for a stinky day. Matt Grimley welcomes comments at [email protected]